Heaven is where the groove locks together

Edward II
Edward II

A Lancaster guitarist with a reputation for doing crazy things with folk tunes takes to the stage in Kendal this weekend as part of a band that has been together for 30 years.

Jon Moore, who lives in Moorlands, and whose age is a closely guarded secret, has performed with Manchester based Edward II since the 1980s. The wildly experimental ceilidh band which marries reggae grooves with traditional folk songs toured extensively in the 90s, taking in Europe, the USA, Canada, Brazil, India, Sri Lanka and even Turkmenistan.

The band “retired” in 1999, but in 2009 they decided to play a few gigs and since then play when the mood takes them.

Christened by one critic as “Intercontinental Ballistic Dance Music”, Edward II morphed into a touring band that played English traditional songs and tunes, alongside its own material, with a strong reggae groove.

Jon said: “Our new project is a little different.

“It’s based around songs from Manchester, the city that is our home base, in the 1800s. They give a picture of the rise of a bustling, vibrant, industrial city.

“There is the struggle for workers rights in a society of extraordinary inequality, and the birth of the labour movement.

“All this alongside familiar tales of humour, parting in sorrow, and love.” Jon said that there is always some point in one of the gigs where the groove all locks together “and I think I’ve died and gone to heaven!”

He has been making a living from music since the 1980s, and plays in well-loved funk/rock/hip-hop band Carpe, and numerous jazz ensembles around the north west, including Hotcha, Swing Guitars, and the Paul Palmer Quintet. Edward II perform at Kendal Brewery Arts Centre tomorrow night, Friday April 24, from 7.30pm. Entry is £12.50 and tickets can be booked in advance via the box office on 01539 725133 or on the door.